Boxpark founder’s nerves on edge ahead of UK’s biggest pop-up mall launching in Wembley Park

Roger Wade, founder of Boxpark, in one of his pop up malls. Picture: Boxpark

Roger Wade, founder of Boxpark, in one of his pop up malls. Picture: Boxpark - Credit: Archant

The UK’s biggest pop-up mall opens in Wembley Park this weekend and the founder’s nerves are jangled.

Boxpark chief Roger Wade is launching his latest shipping container on Saturday at 11am with its ethos of “eat, drink, play”.

The 50,000 sq ft space will offer the community and event crowds 20 food and drink vendors, and an area to play games and hang out.

The dad of two told the Times: “There’s a mixture of anticipation and obviously nervousness as it’s a massive Boxpark. It’s by far the biggest Boxpark that we’ve launched before.

“It’s the moment just before we’re launching. You have a dream about something and you think to yourself: ‘Will they come?’

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“We think it will enliven the whole area and it’s great to have the backing of Quintain.”

The entrepreneur’s first pop-up mall, Boxpark Shoreditch, was launched in 2010, made up fully of shipping containers.

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Boxpark Croydon followed in 2016, bigger but with fewer containers. PR bods refused our repeated requests to have a look around the Wembley site as it took shape over the last few months, but Roger tells us the finished building is 20 per cent shipping containers and 80pc steel frames, with a capacity of 2,000.

International food and drink kiosks on the ground floor include Nanny Bills. Smoky Boys and Japanese outfit Mitsuryu.

Upstairs is a 20,000 sq ft “play zone” fully equipped with ping pong table and board games.

It is here that the launch will kick off at 6pm on Saturday, with a Rinse FM takeover hosting live sets from artists including CASisDEAD, The Heatwave and Heartless Crew until 11pm.

Celebrations continue on Sunday from 7pm with a special edition of Bingo Lingo hosted by Tim Westwood.

Roger, 52, added: “We are really expanding on the play theme. There’s a ping pong table. People can come up and play board games. We are creating a destination – we want it first and foremost a place that the local community can use. The reality is there are only about 50 events at the stadium and we will be open 365 days.”

Profits will be split 50/50 with Quintain – the regeneration giant reshaping Wembley Park, without whom Roger said the new Boxpark “wouldn’t have happened”.

Boxpark has turned over £10m since the Shoreditch site opened. It hit headlines earlier this year after reporting a £500,000 loss on its Croydon site in six months, but Roger has said the figure was in line with forecasts and normal for a young project.

Tickets for the launch night cost £10

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